Young GAMPA voices to feature on Hammond’s first Christmas album
Photo by Johnny Bugeja
by Alice Mascarenhas

Albert Hammond, who is recording a Christmas album to be released next Christmas, has been working with a young GAMPA ensemble who will feature on the album singing backing vocals.

This will be Mr Hammond’s first Christmas album, for which Photo by Johnny Bugeja he is recording some old traditional Christmas songs and carols. of Me’ album released in 1989, which first featured on the ‘Best The album, which has still to and which, like a new song called be given a title, will include his ‘I Wish You a Merry Christmas’, song ‘Under the Christmas Tree’,was co-written with John Bettis Mr Hammond has this week been working with the youngsters aged from nine to 18, together with GAMPA music teacher and well-known local musician Jeremy Perez, who arranged all the choir parts for the young voices together with Mr Hammond.

Mr Perez said the experience of working and learning from Mr Hammond has been really good for the youngsters, who have greatly benefited from his vast musical knowledge and experience.

He added it was also a great opportunity for them to form part of this project and to feature on an Albert Hammond album.

Mr Hammond has always wanted to record a Christmas album and believes every artist should record one at some point in their career.

“Christmas is special and every fan wants their favourite artist to sing and record a Christmas album,” he said.

He has selected some old favourite tunes which are all being given the special Hammond treatment.

Mostly acoustic, the album features guitars, bass and drums but is all very up tempo.

The album will feature some 10 to 15 songs including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bells, Here Comes Santa Claus, Oh Come O Ye Faithful, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Mary’s Boy Child.

The GAMPA ensemble, Mr Hammond said, is likely to feature in most of the tracks although some songs will be very different, such as an acoustic version of Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ with just his vocal and guitar. The album will also include John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ for which Mr Hammond has recorded live vocals.

Jeremy Perez, he said, is a very talented musician and arranger of vocals, and has helped him put this ensemble from GAMPA together.

“I could not have done it without him,” he emphasized. It was when he heard the GAMPA singers perform at last year’s Cultural Awards where he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award that he immediately thought of using their voices for his Christmas album.

“I really enjoyed working with them. Christmas is for the young, they love Christmas and I felt it would be the right thing to do asking them to join me on this album,” he said.

“I always want to bring Gibraltarians to wherever I am and I felt this was the perfect opportunity.”

Recording will continue in April with a further session at GAMPA, but it all has to be completed by May this year for release in October/November.

Meanwhile, Albert Hammond’s latest album ‘Body of Work’ written with John Bettis will be released in March.